COLUMBUS, Ind. — A lightning strike hit a gas supply line to a dryer, sparking a fire that caused around $100,000 in damage Tuesday.
The Columbus Fire Department said the fire happened around 8:13 p.m. Tuesday in the 3700 block of Pawnee Trail. Crews were called after the homeowner discovered smoke in the home and called 9-1-1.
The owner would later tell firefighters that he left the home earlier in the evening and returned to the sound of smoke alarms. His two dogs were able to get past a second-floor gate and were downstairs by the time he returned.
Crews arrived within minutes of the call and saw smoke coming from the roof eaves. Inside the home, the department said they found heavy smoke and high heat coming from the second floor. Crews had the fire under control within 10 minutes.
While investigating the fire, neighbors reported a loud clap of thunder shortly before the fire was reported. Heavy rain and lightning moved through the area around the same time. The department said one neighbor told firefighters that his home’s GFI receptacles tripped after the lightning strike.
Based on evidence gathered inside the home, investigators believe the lightning strike damaged a gas supply line to the clothes drier. A portion of the gas supply line sustained electrical arching, resulting in a natural gas-fed fire. The fire melted plastic water supply lines, leading to water damage on the first floor and basement.
The homeowner is staying with family members after the fire. The department said the home is insured, and damage is estimated to be around $100,000.